My Questions for Elon Musk After He Revealed He Has Autism on 'SNL'
Growing up with autism theater therapy was pivotal to my development. Thanks to therapies like this, and a laser focus key interest, it has paved my career today as one of the few openly autistic professionally certified public speakers in the country and as an autism entertainment consultant. One of the shows I thoroughly enjoyed growing up and today is “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) on NBC. Because of that, I was curious to see how billionaire Elon Musk would do during his first time hosting SNL on May 8, 2021.
He did more than I was expecting.
During his monologue, Musk said, “I’m the first person with Asperger’s to ever host Saturday Night Live.” I was live-tweeting and mentioned that Dan Aykroyd, who revealed his own Asperger’s diagnosis and was a cast member and writer for the show for years live hosted in 2003. I missed the part where Musk said, “or at least the first to admit it.”
Elon Musk: “I’m the first person with Asperger’s to ever host Saturday Night Live”
— Kerry’s Autism Journey (@Kerrymagro) May 9, 2021
My initial reaction was mixed. I wonder if this reveal would lead to positive change within our autism community. Some questions I’d like to ask him:
Will you help with disability policy change?
Will you consider hiring talented autistic employees? The majority of autistic adults are unemployed or underemployed in the United States.
Will you use your money and influence to help support reliable autism supports across the lifespan for our community?
The next day, I started researching a little on Elon to find out if he has any previous background in the autism community. I learned about a controversy he had in the autism community when, in a podcast taping, he said, “So Neuralink (Elon Musk AI brain chips company) I think at first will solve a lot of brain-related diseases. So could be anything from, like, autism.”
The neurodiversity movement has been asking for people to stop calling autism a disease or something that can or should be cured for years. Autism is a developmental disorder, hence the acronym ASD which stands for autism spectrum disorder. Could he have potentially slipped up by calling autism a brain-related disease? Perhaps. But you would think he would have retracted it in a follow-up statement.
While I was looking at the feedback online, I saw some say how seeing someone like Musk being successful gives “hope” for our autism community. However, I also saw others mention that Musk’s revelation will lead to more people without a personal connection to the autism community assuming all autistic people are savants (i.e., “Rain Man”/”The Good Doctor”).
I guess only time will tell!
A version of this blog appeared on Kerrymagro.com here.
Image via YouTube.